What are the recommendations of the Shekatkar committee constituted to recommend measures to enhance combat capability and rebalance defence expenditure of the armed forces?
A Committee of Experts was constituted by Ministry of Defence under the chairmanship of Lt Gen (Retd) DB Shekatkar to recommend measures to enhance combat capability and rebalance defence expenditure of the armed forces.
The report has been taken up by the Ministry of Defence to frame key action points and roadmap for implementation. The important recommendations of the committee include
- Increasing the retirement age of jawans by two years, which will help the army save a significant amount on pensions and training of personnel.
- Optimising non-combat support arms in the army such as supply corps, ordnance and electrical and mechanical engineers.
- Abolishing military and dairy farms, where several thousand army personnel and a considerable number of officers are involved in mundane tasks like cattle rearing and growing vegetables.
- Downsizing the remount veterinary corps, which looks after horses and mules for ceremonial as well as operations.
- Re-organising the role of certain organisations like the DRDO, DGQA, Defence Estates, Defence Accounts, and Ordnance Factory Board (OFB).
- Restructuring of the National Cadet Corps (NCC) and has suggested bringing it under the administrative control of the ministry of human resources than MoD.
- Optimal use and integration of manpower and resources by re-deploying ex-servicemen including retired officers and JCOs in various organisations.
- Setting up of Joint Services War College that runs a one year combined course for all the three forces besides having a tri-service Intelligence training establishment.
- Constituting a four-star Chief of Defence Staff (CDS) who would be made the chief single-point adviser to the defence minister on military matters.
- Higher budget allocations for India’s defence sector had also advocated for increased financial powers of all the three service chiefs.
The reforms will result in saving of about Rs. 25,000 crore over the following five years. It will free manpower to raise new combat units and increase the strength of existing units.